Amazon scam trio primed for prison stretch after million-dollar fraud
Defected goods hustle brought in big bucks – for a while
A pair of married scammers and their fence were sentenced to 71 months, 68 months, and 24 months in prison respectively for defrauding Amazon.com, the US Attorney's Office (USAO) for the Southern District of Indiana said on Monday.
Erin Finan, 38, and Leah Finan, 38, residents of the Muncie-Anderson area of Indiana, previously pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud and money laundering charges; Danijel Glumac, 29, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty to money laundering and fencing stolen products.
The Finans, according to court documents, participated in a scheme to deceive Amazon by claiming that ordered goods were defective or damaged so replacements could be obtained at no cost through the company's return process.
To do so, they had to create hundreds false identities, which they used for receiving goods at various shipping stores around Indiana.
They then sold the original and replacement goods to Glumac, who in turn sold the unlawfully obtained items. Over two years, scheme netted over $1.2 million from the sale of stolen merchandise – about $750,000 for the Finans and almost $500,000 for Glumac.
Glumac, the government says, would buy the items from the Finans, mark them up, and sell them to a buyer in New York who would then sell them to the public, often through Amazon.com.
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Between 2014 and 2016, the government says, over 2,700 consumer electronics items were obtained and sold by the trio, including Apple MacBooks, GoPro cameras, Microsoft Surface tablets and Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches and other electronics products.
In a statement, United States Attorney Josh Minkler said fraud of this sort leads to higher prices for everyone.
"To those who seek to exploit the convenience of online shopping through fraud, remember this case," he said. "You will be caught. You will be prosecuted. And you will go to federal prison for a long time."
The USAO contends that the nearly six year prison sentences for the Finans are the consequence of their participation in other fraud – bouncing checks, renting cars and houses but not paying for them, and stealing rental softball equipment to sell it through Facebook groups to parents of kids involved in the sport. ®